Embodied emotional health

Embodied Emotional Health is a way of understanding and supporting full-self wellness and vitality. It is a way of living in the world in which one is able to connect to, and use as a resource, all aspects of experience: emotional, physical, intellectual, and relational. We express ourselves first and foremost through our embodied life; before language develops infants communicate with their whole body being, and this continues throughout our adult lives, often outside of our awareness.

Many people grow up disconnected and unaware of, or devaluing their body experience. It is not unusual for those who suffer from traumas and difficult or stressful experiences to feel unsafe, and for body experiences to be numbed out or to feel dangerous. Western philosophy and culture have taught and supported the split of mind and body, often valuing our minds over our bodies; but this can create confusion and disconnection.  Many phrases exist to describe emotional experience that is rooted in the body. “Gut feelings”, “blinded by rage” and “my heart aches” all speak to the integration of emotion with our physical selves.

We may be unaware that simply taking a deep breath, or standing up straight can change the way we feel and thus how we interact with the world. When our body is fluid, flexible and integrated, feelings and thoughts can move and change more easily. We have more resilience when our bodies are healthy and adaptable, when our neurochemistry is not in a constant state of activation and protection.

Embodied Emotional Health acknowledges that these elements are interconnected and interdependent and by using intentional in-the moment awareness and experimentation, change in all aspects of one’s experience may occur. By exploring our body impulses, reactive and responsive structures and then the narrative around our felt experience, we can begin to know more about how we develop, grow and support changing identities. Greater knowledge and connection to our own processes can offer resource and containment.